Ward leads Washington State to 56-14 romp over Colorado; Sanders exits with injury

by Lucas Garcia
Washington State Victory

Cameron Ward’s impressive 288-yard, four-touchdown performance led Washington State to a decisive 56-14 victory over Colorado on Friday night, halting a six-game slide and dashing Colorado’s bowl aspirations in Deion Sanders’ inaugural season. Washington State’s Brennan Jackson also made a significant impact, scoring twice on fumble recoveries, contributing to the team’s triumph.

During the match, Colorado’s quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of head coach Deion Sanders, was forced to leave in the second quarter following a substantial hit due to a mishandled snap. Despite managing to leave the field independently, he was subsequently escorted to the locker room. Before his exit, Sanders had completed 6 of 10 passes for 86 yards, which included a notable 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter. He also endured four sacks.

The season started promisingly for Colorado (4-7, 1-7 Pac-12 Conference) with a 3-0 streak under “Coach Prime”, but the team has since experienced a downturn, losing seven out of their last eight games. Conversely, Washington State (5-6, 2-6) revived its bowl game aspirations with this win but must overcome Washington in the upcoming Apple Cup to continue its bowl game streak.

Washington State’s defense played a crucial role, forcing three turnovers against a Colorado team that had previously committed only seven all season. Jackson’s two fumble returns for touchdowns, covering 48 and 78 yards, marked key highlights in Washington State’s most significant Pac-12 win since 2016. The Cougars led 14-0 early in the game thanks to Jackson’s first touchdown following Ron Stone Jr.’s strip-sack of Sanders.

Colorado briefly narrowed the gap with Hunter’s 45-yard touchdown, but Washington State’s Leighton Smithson immediately responded with a 98-yard kickoff return, marking the team’s first since 2018. Ward then intensified the Cougars’ lead, connecting with Nakia Watson for a 23-yard touchdown and scoring two more on foot, bringing the halftime score to 42-7. He later added a 34-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Williams, and Jackson’s second fumble recovery touchdown extended their lead to 56-7.

Substitutes Ryan Staub and Gavin Kuld, who came in for Sanders, managed only 79 passing yards combined, with two turnovers. Travis Hunter stood out for Colorado with 82 receiving yards.

Key Observations:

  • Washington State ended its longest losing streak since 2013 with a dominant first-half performance, a stark contrast to their previous six-week average of 20 points per game. Their defensive line, particularly aggressive, sidelined Sanders with four sacks in the first quarter.

  • Colorado’s hopes for postseason play ended in their largest defeat under Sanders. The Buffaloes have struggled, conceding an FBS-high 54 sacks this season, and couldn’t withstand Washington State’s formidable pass rush.

Looking Ahead:

  • Colorado faces No. 22 Utah on Nov. 25, ahead of both teams’ move to the Big 12 Conference next season.
  • Washington State concludes its regular season against No. 5 Washington in the Apple Cup, a rivalry that may see its final iteration before Washington transitions to the Big Ten Conference next season.

For more details and updates on the AP Top 25 poll throughout the season, sign up for alerts at the provided links.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Washington State Victory

Who led Washington State to victory over Colorado?

Cameron Ward, quarterback for Washington State, spearheaded the team’s victory by throwing for 288 yards and accounting for four touchdowns. The team defeated Colorado 56-14, snapping a six-game losing streak and ending Colorado’s bowl game hopes.

What happened to Colorado’s quarterback, Shedeur Sanders, during the game?

Shedeur Sanders, Colorado’s quarterback, was forced to leave the game in the second quarter after sustaining a significant hit following a botched snap. He initially walked off the field independently but was then taken to the locker room.

What was the significance of Brennan Jackson’s performance in the game?

Brennan Jackson significantly contributed to Washington State’s victory by scoring two scoop-and-score touchdowns. His performance included returning a pair of fumbles for touchdowns, covering 48 and 78 yards, respectively.

How did this game affect the season prospects for Washington State and Colorado?

The victory kept Washington State’s hopes for a bowl game alive, requiring them to win against Washington in the next game to maintain their bowl streak. For Colorado, the loss, under first-year coach Deion Sanders, dashed their hopes of a bowl game.

What defensive achievements were notable for Washington State in this game?

Washington State’s defense was notably effective, forcing three turnovers against Colorado, which had committed only seven turnovers all season. Their aggressive play, including four sacks against Sanders in the first quarter, was a key factor in their win.

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FootballFan91 November 18, 2023 - 3:20 pm

Brennan Jackson’s performance was just insane, two fumble returns?? that’s gotta be some sort of record right?

Sarah L November 18, 2023 - 4:15 pm

sad to see sanders get hurt, hope he recovers quick, injuries are the worst part of the sport 🙁

Mike J. November 18, 2023 - 4:45 pm

wow, Washington State really turned it around this game, cameron ward is a beast! totally didn’t expect them to snap their losing streak like that

Jenny B November 18, 2023 - 10:59 pm

Deion Sanders seems like he’s got a lot of work to do with Colorado, but i think he’s the right man for the job, just needs time to build the team up.

Tim H November 19, 2023 - 7:26 am

always tough to see a team’s bowl dreams get crushed like colorado’s did, but hey that’s football for ya, anything can happen on any given day.


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